Desert Photo Retreat Update

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Part of of javelina group with two young. In other photos I saw as many as 3 new ones.
Part of of javelina group with two young. In other photos I saw as many as 3 new ones.

Home from a quick trip to check on the Desert Photo Retreat and to refill the water system and automatic bird feeder. Plus, it was a chance to check the game cameras and see who was visiting. We saw all the regulars including the gray fox pair with 2 off-spring, bobcat, javelina with 3 new young, owls, hawks, a pair of coyotes and so much more! Here are a few.

Here you can see all four gray fox. Later in September, I was usually only seeing three fox at any one time, which makes me thing something possibly happened to one of them. Or, it ventured out on it’s own.
Red-tailed hawk was a regular visitor which isn’t uncommon.
Big bobcat. This guy visited a number of times.
Big bobcat. This guy visited a number of times.
A pair of coyotes. In the past I have had a single one visit, to have a pair was new. Hopefully they don’t effect the other animals.

Desert Waterhole

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A bobcat from this past May at the Desert Photo Retreat, Arizona.
A bobcat from this past May at the Desert Photo Retreat, Arizona.

Making another quick trip to Arizona to fill the water tanks and automatic bird feeders, and to check the game cameras at our Desert Photo Retreat. We head down for the season around Thanksgiving.

Great Plains Nature Photographers Talk

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McPherson Opera House, McPherson, Kansas. Photo by Jim Griggs.
McPherson Opera House, McPherson, Kansas. Photo by Jim Griggs.

This is going to be really fun – I’m doing an all day talk for the Great Plains Nature Photographers group in McPherson, Kansas on Saturday November 9th, 2019! Also, we will be doing a sunset shoot at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge the evening before.

This large gathering of nature photographers has been taking place for something like 20 years. I’m proud to be included in their long list of presenters over the years. It will be fun to be speaking in such a beautiful building! Follow this link to register: Great Plains Nature Photographers. It only cost $15!

So here is one I’m planning on presenting:

Animalscapes.  This is my most popular presentation and covers combining landscape and wildlife photography.  It gets people to look at wildlife photography a bit different, and you don’t need fancy telephoto lenses, the techniques and concepts I discuss would work with a cell phone.

Alaska.  This is for people who have never been to Alaska, but have wanted to visit, or folks who have been, but are looking for something different.  I cover a lot of amazing places that might not be on everyone radar.  Many are off the beaten path, but I also talk about how to approach the more popular places like Denali National Park from a photographers perspective.

Improving Your Photography.  In this presentation, I talk about the things I consider and look for when creating a photograph.  A bit of my thought process with many examples.

Camera Trapping and Remote Photography.  This is a fast growing area of wildlife photography that has lead to the capture of some amazing and unique wildlife images.  Take a look at many contest winners in recent years and you will see a lot images captured with traps and triggers.  Again, it doesn’t take expensive telephoto gear, but a fairly modest investment of money.  I’ll touch on the gear, techniques and other considerations.

Falkland, South Georgia and Antarctica.  This is a photo journey to the Southern Oceans where I’ll talk about not only my favorites places, but will also offer travel advice.  There are some things that most people aren’t aware of that can make a big difference in a trip to this amazing region, especially for serous photographers.

Vole Hunter

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A red fox chasing a small vole, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.
A red fox chasing a small vole, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

Last June I watched this fox repeatedly catch and release this poor little vole.  At one point the vole got into some big rocks and almost escaped.

Crimps Cub?

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Young sub-adult walking towards us.

This is one of those special moments that seem to happen throughout my bear trips – moments I’ll likely never forget, and what make each trip special and unique.

This young sub adult was feeding on the sedges in the meadow near the lodge. We decided to walk out and get a closer look and to make photographs. To avoid the heat, thanks to Alaska’s crazy hot summer this year, we decided to sit in the shade provided by a nearby “tree island”. Not long after sitting down the young bear started walking towards us, leaving any possible food source behind. That always gets your attention a little bit. The young bear reached the edge of the same tree shadow we were sitting in, and non-nonchalantly laid down in very close proximity to us. Even crossing its paws, which is a sure sign it didn’t feel threatened. The young bear then laid its head on its paws and relaxed, obviously very comfortable in our presence.

Some of my repeat guests immediately started wondering if this wasn’t one of crimps cubs. Crimp is a very popular sow who’s cubs were now on their own for the first time this summer. These are cubs I have watched grow up over the years from spring cubs, to now sub-adults out on their own for the first time. Without a specific marking like their mom’s crimped ear, there is no way of knowing if this really was one of crimps cubs, but given its behavior, I sure like to think so. 🙂

Given Crimps busy activity with the boars this spring, I would say it is very likely she will have another set of spring cubs this upcoming spring, and the amazing cycle will begin again. I’m already looking forward to the spring!

The young bear laying down just inside the tree shade.
So special to be so close to such beautiful animals.

Standing Bear

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Brown bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.
Brown bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

I love the human like qualities bears take on when they stand.  From June. 


Olympus E-M1X, 40-150 f/2.8 lens at 150.  ISO 800, 1/250th second at f/2.8  

Play Time!

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Brown bear, Lake, Clark National Park, Alaska.
Brown bear, Lake, Clark National Park, Alaska.

A couple of brown bears avoiding the heat by playing in the ocean – last June at Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

More Aurora

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Northern Lights, Alaska Brooks Range, Alaska.
Northern Lights, Alaska Brooks Range, Alaska.

From earlier this month – this weekend could be another great aurora show!  
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Olympus E-M1X, with a 8mm f/ 1.8 lens at f/2.2, ISO 3200 and 3.2 second exposure.  Really pleased with the lack of noise in the Olympus.